LONDON – Pleasance Islington will reopen its doors on Monday 17th May with a busy programme of comedy, theatre, drag and musicals. To help set theatre up to thrive once again Pleasance will also partner with VAULT Creative Arts to present Fringe Futures Festival. Taking place across May and June, this brand-new festival will present live work-in-progress shows from leading independent performance makers.
Fringe Futures Festival will provide an opportunity for early and mid-career artists to try out work at various stages of development in front of a live audience. This innovative collaboration is intended to showcase the future of the fringe. With performances on both sides of the river, the festival will take place in the newly configured, socially distanced Pleasance Downstairs at Pleasance, Islington and Pretty Vacant, a new pop-up performance space on Lower Marsh in Waterloo.
But this isn’t all the Pleasance has got in store for the reopening this May! Continuing with the socially distanced Cabaret layout trialled in December, the main house will have table service for drinks from the bar as well as pizzas from Pleasance’s neighbours The Depot. The theatre will also follow up-to-date safety regulations with enhanced cleaning and sanitising procedures to ensure audience and performer safety, comfort, and a good night out!
The theatre programme will be welcoming audiences back with some fantastic and dynamic work. Non-men all over the world have been waiting to fill the boots of Vladimir and Estragon in Waiting for Godot, yet the Beckett estate still stands by a dead man’s outdated wishes. Silent Faces Theatre are done with waiting and, with their trademark style of playful and political physical theatre, they explore permission, patriarchy and pop music in Godot is a Woman.
Meanwhile, Charles Court Opera are coming out of lockdown with a brand new, inventive production that is sure to put a huge smile on your face. Get ready to be swept away from Penzance to Titipu, from Venice to the Tower of London, from Portsmouth to Fairyland, as EXPRESS G&S: The Page | 2 complete works of Gilbert & Sullivan – in 75 minutes! takes on the challenge of performing the complete works of Gilbert & Sullivan – in one night! The Pleasance reopening line-up wouldn’t be complete without Pleasance’s own drag sweetheart Ginger Johnson and an all-singing, all-dancing cabaret in The Producers! (No, not that one), which will see independent producers hit the stage, in aid of the Theatre Artists Fund.
The comedy programme will be kicking things off with the Pleasance Comedy Comeback season starting with The NextUp Relaunch Party! The UK’s first post-lockdown gig will feature six different stand-up comics returning to the stage for the first time in many, many months. This raucous night of comedy from Pleasance and NextUp will banish the memory of the pandemic – expect shouting, over-excitement and not a single Zoom button in sight.
The topical news show for people who don’t like topical news shows, Laughable Live will come to The Pleasance with their very special Freedom Party to celebrate the end of lockdown in London. Jayde Adams, Red Richardson, and Garrett Millerick will be scouring the media landscape to report on the most ridiculous stories from the tabloids, the broadsheets and Piers Morgan’s wastepaper basket. Alongside their riotously funny news analysis there will be live music, special guests and cocktails. The Laughable Live Freedom Party will be the perfect way to wave goodbye to the last year and celebrate our new-found freedom.
The rest of the comedy programme will have you gagging to buy your ticket with comedians taking to the stage including Joel Dommett, Rob Beckett, Bridget Christie, Joe Thomas, Sindhu Vee, Fern Brady, Rich Hall, Sarah Keyworth, Nabil Abdulrashid, Rachel Fairburn, Catherine Bohart, Jamie D’Souza, Phil Wang, Liz Kingsman, and Sophie Duker. There will even be an afternoon comedy show for canines, and their owners, Stand Up. Sit Down. Roll Over. You’d be barking mad to miss it!
Anthony Alderson, director of the Pleasance Theatres Trust comments: “We can’t wait to get back into our Islington space and welcome audiences through our doors. We exist to entertain audiences, to support the amazing artists we work with and most importantly to fuel the UK’s vibrant arts scene. With our theatre and comedy programmes combined with our amazing new festival with VAULT Creative Arts, we think we are doing all that with our reopening season!”
Pleasance Islington’s Fringe Futures Festival runs from 17th May to 14th July 2021. More information and full programme available on the Pleasance website here